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tv   [untitled]    May 8, 2012 11:30pm-12:00am PDT

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and our community. they showed up in great numbers at the hearing. our main concern is that we vote regularly to increase our own taxes. i do not think any of us are completely opposed to taxes. our concern is the tax code was written in 1961, long before the sharing economy existed, the internet, and the new thing we call airbnb. something that was written for corporate hotels and guests should not be applied to something that is entirely new, to permanent residents of san francisco who are occasionally renting out a couch or bedroom to a visitor, with whom the form great lasting friendships quite often. we announced that the entire city family take time to think about whether the existing laws
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should apply to the new activity or whether we should create new policies and regulations that apply more appropriately to the activity. we look forward to tackling that with the working group going forward. >> how was the turnout? >> it was a pretty huge turnout. we had about 40 hosts from san francisco, probably more than that. many of them testified. it was an incredibly moving experience. i do not think i have seen a city hearing the was that emotional. people are using this income to pay property taxes if they own their home, pay off their mortgages, pay increasing rents. our cofounders could not afford their increasing rent so they
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blew up an air mattress in their living room and rented it out to make rent. this is incredibly important as a source of income for our hosts. if you are taxing at 15%, we need to do so thoughtfully. >> what was the treasurer's view? how is it different from yours? >> we do not know what the treasurer's view is. we would love to discuss this collaborative lee -- collaboratively. our hosts are interested in this topic and to explain what they are willing to pay. they do not have the same resources as a corporate hotel to collect and remit taxes monthly because they are not running a business. this is done occasionally.
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in my case, probably two weeks a year. we do not know what the treasurer and tax collector think about this. we look forward to speaking with them and having a couple conversation. >> when i went to austin last year, i stayed in the home of a single working mom. it was a good feeling to give her the money. it was a unique experience. she was an artist. i stayed in this trailer full of art. it had two huge styrofoam griffins at the doorway. it was very festive. [laughter] let's hear from the other entrepreneurs. how old are your services rubbing up against laws -- how are your services rubbing up against loss in san francisco?
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>> we are lucky in san francisco that the city does not have regulations as far as licenses and certification is required for tour guides. it is already very open. it is different from the regulations in new york city. that is another market we're in. we're looking forward to allowing san francisco to lead the way by showing the impact our platform can have. we are also really concerned with the tax issue as well. so far, the tax code is really segmented largely for personal and business taxes. the sharing economy presents a nuanced situation. individuals are not businesses but are enjoying a new stream of income. we are interested in having that
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conversation in a way where we can use the new economy to benefit the city as well as individuals who are proactively taking all entrepreneurship in their own hands to leverage their own resources and knowledge to supplement their income. >> at task rabbit, we're looking to partner with the city and generate more awareness around what we do and how consumers and small businesses can get involved. we have a lot of small businesses utilizing the network as a delivery force or on demand labor force, particularly with seasonal businesses. they do not want to have to hire a bunch of full-time employees for a month or two of work. they're able to utilize the task private network to scale up and
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down. another case we see is for deliveries. suzy cakes uses task rabbit to get her goodies out. these tasks rabbits are using their own vehicles to do the deliveries. it is typically for a quick five-minute stop. one thing we have been brainstorming with the city about is whether there is a collaborative consumption parking pass or parking network. i know you have some thoughts for this on get around. there's something to consider in that area as you have this network of people out running around doing these deliveries and working with small businesses. how can we make it easier for the small businesses to thrive
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while using a network like task rabbit? >> i would like to follow up and stress that we are eager not just to deal with the problems of ancient regulations but also help the city work together on opportunities. there are enormous opportunities that airbnb presents to the city. tourism is one of the most important economic activities in san francisco. there's great concern by neighborhood groups that economic activity is not going to reach the further out neighborhoods in the city during the america's cup. we would love to work with the city family to encourage america's cup visitors and locals to go out and experience all that the city has to offer in the various neighborhoods.
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we look forward to pursuing the opportunities and shared interests with the city. >> with car sharing, we're lucky to be part of an industry that has addressed these things in the past. we have great leaders like zip car that have led the way and fought the battles on car sharing. it is a different activity. it has different iopportunities. we are working proactively to have conversations to educate people to understand how it is different even from car sharing. this is real people, real cars. we think it has even broader environmental and community implications. we got a $one. 7 million grant from the federal
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highway administration to launch a three-year study on peer to peer car sharing. we will be reporting back on how that is going. we will know quickly in terms of the impact of peer to peer cars sharing of people choosing not to own a vehicle. as we look at ways of enabling this behavior, not sharing your car is easier than sharing. it will have benefits, monetary, environmental, community, making the world a better place, helping people. i think all of us in this room want that. with this new tax on airbnb, each of these things are deterrents to doing the right thing.
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i hope we can make more innovative and informed decisions to make it easy to share. i would like to see tax incentives for any sort of sharing behavior. i think that is probably where it will go in the future. until we get that together, there is only a tax on airbnb. >> do you mind if i clarify that? the treasurer just held a hearing, so he has not the decision yet, so things are still open. just wanted to clarify that. >> we are interested in how this economy affects people in their everyday lives, and people left out of the economic mainstream who may be struggling. how can benefits of a sharing economy reach into underserved
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communities, and what are you doing specifically, like special programs that are being created for that? let's see, who wants to jump in on that one? >> i will start. we actively recruit guys and have a program so that we keep quality control on the site. when we start in a city such as san francisco, we look at what makes the city unique and seek out experiences and personalities and guides for the site that can really tell the city to tourists and locals alike. a couple of examples of the -- there's a passionate street artist in the mission will had offered tours to friends and family and people in the community. he had become an expert. he discovered our platform and is not able -- not only able to
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monetize and make money to do what he loves that he had already been doing the sharing the expertise and knowledge will be on his own network of family and friends. we have tourists coming from japan and france, and instead of just seeing pier 39, they are also venturing into the mission, spending money at the local readers shop and gaining knowledge about something they have now become passionate about. one other example is a homeless man who lives in the tenderloin at a shelter. him volunteering in the tenderloin. realized that there was a huge opportunity for people to educate themselves about homelessness in san francisco because it is something that the city, for better or worse, is known for. instead of ignoring that segment of town -- because you do not typically think of it as a tourist destination -- we wanted to see what were the strengths that it could bring as a tourism opportunity?
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our guide has now made enough money to buy a cell phone so that he can operate more of these tours, and it has spread to personalities such as the author, who recommended it to all of his friends, and the deputy mayor of atlanta who came on the tour to inform his homeless policy in atlanta. we really see the reach of this, not only taking people into other underserved communities, but really redefining what tourism is. it is such a huge moneymaker for the city, but also, we are now attracting locals and other people who would not necessarily think to go on a tour or to pay for an experienced to now pay for them. >> we see a really wide variety of those that are part of our community. you might think often people think that college students would be out running around town doing errands, and from the beginning, that was never the
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case. the first big learning i had when i launched the business. we have stay at home moms that are out running their own parents anyway and not mind picking things up for people. young professionals looking to supplement their incomes nights and weekends. san francisco is an extensive place to live. if they could make a few extra bucks on the side to help supplement their rent, then all the better. we have this amazing group of retirees that love the idea of staying active, helping other people in their community, so we look for a wide variety of individuals to get involved in the network. one story i will share is up a woman named amy. she posts on a monthly basis and hires a group to go out with her to the tenderloin in san francisco and help feed the homeless. it is something she is incredibly passionate about, and she realizes the network as a resource and to offer support in
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fulfilling that passion. there is just story after story about the ways that we are engaging all levels of the community, and it is really exciting to see the type of community-building that can happen when you connect people in a neighborhood. >> sharing is not a new idea. it has been around for a long time, but something all our companies have in common is we use technology -- in our cases, an online platform -- that actually lowers the barrier -- the barrier of entry so people across the social spectrum can engage. you do not need to have a second home in a fancy condo buildings in this city. you can have an extra count that you want to rent out, and you can find access to travelers from all over the world who also do not have the resources to spend money on a $200 hotel
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bill who want to say on your couch, and that is really democratizing travel, not just access to travel, but also access to the tourism economy that flourishes in the city. >> i just want to address the technology point really quickly. we try and emphasize the human aspect of this, whether it is on the website or whether it is through the iphone app. other people use a device that we built, that lets you share a car more conveniently by letting the richer unlock the car with their smartphone. even with that, we really try to connect the people who are sharing because a lot of people to accept rentals just with the
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kit and may never meet the people they are sharing with. we tried to encourage the parties to get to know each other, trying to just display your interest or so many things i can think of that our websites due to show who this person really is. they take their photo. i think part of this is about trust, and it is about letting -- the things we do to encourage trust and the things you do as a responsible member of the sharing community to insure you are doing your due diligence as well. when two people -- first off, the one example i want to bring is that a lot of our car owners find a handful of people they like to share with regularly. usually, both on the richter and owners' side, it is most convenient if you find a few
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people you like -- both on the renter and owner side. it is almost like fractional ownership of a car. secondly, we do community events to bring people together, so you can meet people whose car you could be sharing and you did not actually realized that they could make it available because they list it at their workplace and not their house. those kind of surprises are fun. we are seeing a lot of our members throw little ad hoc things, which is awesome to see. better to have a grass roots than organized by the company. >> that touched on a really interesting thing. i was wondering -- how do cities -- what role do they play in your rollout plans, and how important is community management to the process? let me start with you, jessica. >> for us, we have chosen to
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launch city by city. we feel that is really important because it lets us take the time needed to build up a great community of people sharing cars. that lets us find great cars, educate the owners, educate the renters, and ensure there is the right balance and variety of cars. if you look on the site in san francisco, you will literally see cars all over the place. it is all over the bay area. you are seeing cars sharing happening in places it never had before. we worked with the city to see if there were any ways we could get out the word. we hope to work with existing programs or be added as an additional transportation solution. in general, we like to involve the city and city leaders in our announcement of coming to market, and it has been working rely well. >> i know you have community
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managers all over the globe. what's going on there? >> airbnb goes to network effects. we are all over in -- we are already in 19 cities all over the world. we just provide the tools on line, and local residents throughout the world decide they want to be part of the movement and part of airbnb and list their homes on the site, and local travelers decide they want to go somewhere and look for those. the amazing thing is it is really driven by the global community. we just like to help that along by contributing to community events and the ups and educational experiences to help host become better hosts, and quite often, actually, we have events where the travelers who are in town can attend. one such event is happening this thursday.
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inh -- t san francisco have nominated their favorite destinations, experiences, local businesses, and nonprofit organizations in their neighborhoods, and we will be presenting a guide to san francisco based on this. in terms of the role the city is playing, i think the biggest role in city could play would be to make compliance with existing laws and regulations more clear and more easy for local residents. london, for example, is doing a great job of this in anticipation of the olympics. they have run out of hotel rooms, and they realize that the whole purpose of the olympics was to create economic development in some of the most underserved areas of the city, and they are not getting that. we will be working
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collaborative lee to come up with a solution to solve that problem. they have created a wonderful website that clearly states what you need to do to be compliant. >> that is what christopher is doing in london then, right? >> yes. >> one more question for jay, and i think we should open up for questions from everyone here. tell us what existing city initiatives -- you know, this -- the schering economy working group will interface with or connect with, and how does it fit in with existing strategic goals and plans of the city? >> i think our director of environment in our city has issued a goal for 2020, being mission -- emission free, carbon
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neutral. that is something that when you think about the economic impact of these new business models, it can contribute quite greatly to that. i am going to answer the question a little bit differently -- i have been inspired by this space considerably. there's a lot more opportunity. cars, so many assets we have in our society. as a city, we own buildings, cubicles, museums, golf courses, so much that we have -- >> yes, but it is our property, right? >> yes. that is a very good point. stewards of these resources, and they are often underutilized resources, so how do we improve access to those? there is a lot to learn from this that could be applied to the public comments. >> thank you. let's open it up.
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do we have a microphone for people to come to? ok, we will just it old school. if you have a question, raise your hand, and speak loudly. concise questions will be greatly appreciated. >> [inaudible] >> did everyone here that? ok. >> something that is really amazing about the sharing
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economy is it is being pioneered in cities. cities exist because of sharing because it is more efficient and more productive to collaborate and share resources, and that is something we are seeing, that our biggest markets are big metropolitan cities, which is different when you look at the tourism industry throughout the world. i mean, of course, we will be in the beach towns, but, the real innovative factor here is it is happening in cities, and it is because the way we work and live is different. we are more transient, mobile, flexible. we do not stay in the same job for our entire lives. the way we live differently dictates not only how we travel, but also how we make money. as i travel for work, my apartment is bacon in san francisco, and someone else can come and visit it. i think cities are where a lot of the opportunity lies, and why we are proud san francisco is
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the first city in the world to recognize this and to work collaboratively with all of us. >> [inaudible] >> [inaudible] >> what is that? >> this is one thing we have thought about not necessarily actually creating a new currency, but as far as our platforms, sharing resources. i do see a future in being able to create a system where you can kind of have some type of credit or there is some type of sharing and bordering among those services. as we all grow, i know that our company was born that way.
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we were a originally funded by money we made off of airbnb sublett our apartment -- subletting our apartment, which was managed by taskgrabbit, and we would use peer to peer, schering. it was very much the bread-and- butter, and i think we will see that nationally expand, though it may not be its own initiative. >> yes, i will just add to that that you are one of the largest -- one of the largest time banks in the country is here in san francisco, the bay area community exchange. could start using that to mobilize volunteers, so i encourage you to check it out. another thing to think about is public banking. it is not necessarily a different currency, but it would be a different way of handling
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money. for instance, san franciscans could do it. a good but the money instead of in wells fargo or whatever, a private commercial bank, into a bank that is owned by us, and that the interest goes into city treasury, and we extend credit to ourselves. there's really innovative things that are happening, and that our public banking laws being lodged in a number of -- i think it is, like, 13 states right now. very innovative things happening. in the back. >> there are a lot of assets you are sharing that are really great at the grassroots level and bottom-up, but there are also things that are done the need to be shared such as public transit that cannot be done bottom-up and have to be done top down. i wonder is there a way a sharing economy can create those projects, or do we have to rely on residual benefits of bottom-
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up activity like reducing car use? >> the question is -- there are a lot of grassroots bottom-up activity, sharing resources, but there are also opportunities to take macro approaches like public transportation, for instance, and how we can get some of those opportunities going. >> i will take this. i think that is a really good question. i think there is a role both bottom-up and top down, and i think it is a conversation we're going to have in the working group to get these ideas that are coming from our community and from leaders in the space. there are so many ideas we may not be hearing. we are inviting all of you with some of these great ideas. i think it is the first set. obviously, it will not be easy to make some of these changes, but being part of the dialogue is very important. >> i would check o